What a horrible day for America. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court made into law (if the Court can make law) what may have been reality all along, but nobody I know wanted to believe it. We couldn’t get THAT cynical. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on the amount of money organizations can give to sponsor a candidate campaign.
That means an organization — a large corporation or a union or a church or whoever — can give as much as they want — moreover, as much as they have — to support a political candidate. Officially, now, the rich ARE different. They can take up more of our time and more of our/their resources funding a candidate, drowning out the voices that speak for the less well-funded.
It’s not like they’re already spending our money foolishly. Remember those Wall Street salaries? The banks that went under by making bad loans and charging exhorbitant prices on credit cards? Bernie Madoff?
I’m sure, from a purely logical, legal precedent standpoint, there must be a way one can come up with what the Supremes came up with. I still have some idealism left. I don’t see it, but I’m not a lawyer. But less than a second after they thought whatever-it-is, they should have seen the consequences of their ruling. Come on! When I first saw the news on Facebook (and later on the BBC) I thought it was a prank. I pray that when I wake up tomorrow, it’s April 2nd. If it’s not, I just can’t imagine how bad things could get ijn this country. Someone on Facebook pointed out that multi-national corporations are no longer banned from giving large sums of money either, so now rich non-Americans can run the political process here.
If you’ve read this blog in the past, you know that I want justice for the poor more than almost anything. There is a type of theology (Liberation theology) that says Jesus has a “preferentional option for the poor”. I’m not sure I’d go that far. I don’t think that Jesus prefers the poor over the rich. I don’t think that Jesus prefers any group over another. Just because a person’s a member of a group says nothing about them individually, good or bad. What I do believe is that Jesus wants everybody to be valued equally — he wants everybody’s voice to be heard. To the extent that I can make an under-heard voice more heard, I think I’m doing Jesus’ will. I’m sure that the poor don’t get heard enough in the world, so there you go.
The Supreme Court ruling is the absolute antithesis of everything I believe about the value of money and the value of people. Theologian John Powell says, “We should love people and use things, not the other way around”. The Court’s ruling says that we can buy people now. We can buy the way the world is, if we have enough money. There’s a Buddhist economist who wrote a book subtitled “Economics As If People Mattered”. I look forward to a world where that might be true, but apparently this isn’t it, at least in America right now. After I get over being depressed that this absurdity could be real life (and law, at that) I’m sure I’ll do whatever I can to change it, but right now, I don’t even know what that could be. President Obama pledges to fight it, but I don’t know how he or anybody might do that. I’ll have to study civics some more.
For now, though, it gives me the heebie-jeebies to think of it.
So, in sadness, may we seek…